I have a 6 year old Border Collie cross that has a change in her voice suddenly. It is normally a fairly robust bark but now she honestly sounds a little like a harp seal! There is very little volumn to it and she seems hesitant to bark now (which is really strange for her). Any ideas would be very helpful!
Hi. Mild to more serious infection and inflammation can cause changes in the sound of a bark, making the pitch higher or lower ... and/or lower in volume. Changes in the way a dog barks can also be caused by tumors on or near the vocal cords. This is a symptom that absolutely requires a vet to examine her. Please get her to your vet as soon as possible and let us know what he says. Tony
I would have her checked out by the vet. It MAY just be a case of her having picked up a bug and she is now dealing with a case of tonsillitis (yes, dogs DO have tonsils!) but it could also be laryngeal paralysis.
There are two small cartilages at the top of the cricoid cartilage in the upper rear portion of the larynx. When the dog breathes in these open up and when the dog swallows they close. During laryngeal paralysis they stay stationary no matter what the dog is doing and do not move. Most cases of laryngeal paralysis are idiopatic, meaning they are of unknown cause, but they CAN be caused by cervical neoplasia (a tumor in the neck) or by trauma to the region (a sudden, severe jerk on a collar or choker, for example).
How is she with regard to exercising? Does she seem to have the same stamina that she always has or does she seem to tire out or get winded easily? Does she cough or gag while she is eating?
Mild cases of laryngeal paralysis can be managed pretty easily by limiting exercise and possibly administering corticosteroids to help with any swellling or inflammation but severe cases sometimes need surgery to bring about resolution. Your vet can diagnose it easily enough by examining her.
Please keep us posted on what is happening with her.
Just one other thought that occurred to me ... do you employ a choker-chain or any similar device that restricts the neck. Is she a 'puller' on the lead? This could also cause neck problems and internal restriction. I am so much against choker-chains for this very reason and take every opportunity on this site to explain why all choker-chains should be put in the trash. There are so many better devices for training a 'pulling' dog not to pull.
As she is 6 yrs old, I doubt this has been caused by the use of a choker-chain, as problems would have shown before now, but hope you'll forgive me taking the opportunity to mention it in any event. Tony
I had a boxer whose bark changed.
It was due to hypothyroidism.
If your dog seeks warm places to lay,
Has dry skin or brittle nails,
Seems overweight even though you do not feel you overfeed her,
Is not as energetic as you would expect a 6 year old to be,
Then by all means, you should have her thyroid checked.
It is a simple and relatively inexpensive test that requires nothing but a blood draw.
Best wishes to you and your dog.
Thank you for all your wonderful responses about my dog! I took her to the vet day before yesterday and she has no fever, no lumps that could be felt and she is behaving just like normal.
She is eating properly and drinking normally and playing normally.
Therefore the vet said we will do the wait and see thing. So far no change but it's only been two days.
I don't use a choke chain on any of my dogs and never would for the exact reasons you mentioned.
So, thank you again for all your information...it is very much appreciated but we will watch and wait and I am going to video her and take it to the vet so she knows what she sounds like and how different her voice is from when I take her in for blood work or a nail clip. For a border collie she is very vocal and I do believe she thinks she can talk but I think she is starting to get a little frustrated!
I will keep you up to date as to any changes and again, thank you very much!
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